Cambridge, MA. – June 14, 1910

Cambridge, Massachusetts – June 14, 1910    

Vintage postcard view of a
Curtiss Airplane

     At abo0ut 8:00 p. m. on the night of June 14, 1910, a Harvard University student who was also the President of the Harvard Aeronautical Society decided to take the Society’s airplane, the “Harvard I”, for a test flight.  The aircraft was a Curtis style single engine, biplane, which members of the Aeronautical Society had built themselves, and was kept in a storage building at Soldiers Field in Cambridge. 

     In the area where the pilot attempted to take off was a debris laden dump, about 50 yards away from where the aircraft sat warming up, which was likely hard to see due to darkness.  When the pilot attempted to take off, the aircraft picked up speed with the dump ahead.  Before the pilot could stop the plane it crashed into the dump where the impact tore away the landing gear and caused considerable damage to the fuselage.   The pilot was not injured.

     It was reported that repairs to the aircraft would take about a week.   

     To learn more about the Harvard Aeronautical Society click on this link: Harvard Aeronautical Society 


     New York Tribune, “Harvard Biplane Wrecked – Secret Flight At Night Disastrous To Crimson Airship”, June 14, 1910

Cambridge, MA. – April 28, 1919

Cambridge, Massachusetts – April 28, 1919

Updated November 14, 2023

     In April of 1919, the New England Airplane Company was established in Cambridge, Massachusetts, by two recently discharged military men, one being a former navy pilot.  The business model included taking passengers on sightseeing flights over the Boston metropolitan area.  The company’s lone aircraft was a military surplus Curtis F model capable of water take offs and landings.  The company made its first passenger flight on April 24th, and had made several more since, without incident. 

     On the afternoon of April 28, 1919, a 22-year-old Dorchester man bought a ticket for a fifteen minute flight.  (As a point of irony, it was later reported that a doctor had tried to take the man’s place on the flight but was unsuccessful.) 

     Once aboard the plane, the pilot stated the engine and pulled out onto the Charles River.  He then turned the plane into the wind and began to accelerate.  As the plane rose to an altitude of 100 feet it was caught by a wind gust and  suddenly dipped to one side and fell into the water with great force.  The plane struck opposite of Ashby Street on the Boston side of the river, and about 40 feet from shore on the Cambridge side. 

     The plane came to rest upside down in the water trapping the occupants in their seats, and nearby boaters immediately went to their aid.  The pilot was rescued but the passenger had drowned by the time his body was recovered.          


     Norwich Bulletin, “Passenger Drowned When Plane Fell Into River”, April 29, 1919

     Omaha Daily Bee, “Passenger Drowned When Plane Falls Into River”, April 30, 1919

     Richmond Times, “Pay Passenger Killed As Airplane Falls”, April 29, 1919.

     Unknown Paper, “Flying Boat’s Plunge Kills Passenger and Injures Pilot”, unknown date. Found on 


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